Liz Crummey and Stephen McEvoy.

Couple praises locals after strangers come to the rescue

A husband and wife from Dublin have praised the people of Athlone after they were forced to depend on the kindness of strangers when they got into an unfortunate situation while visiting last weekend.

Liz Crummey and Stephen McEvoy from Firhouse, Dublin 24, had travelled to Athlone on Friday, July 23, to cycle the Old Rail Trail when their car was involved in an accident.

“There was a late check-in at the Airbnb in Mount Temple, so we just parked the car at the beginning of the Old Rail Trail at Spar at Garrycastle,” Liz explained.

“The car is my husband’s pride and joy and it had the bike rack on top with the two bikes. He reversed into a safe spot near some bushes, we took the bikes off and went off for a cycle.”

The couple cycled to Moate where they had a break at Tuar Ard Coffee Shop before they returned to Athlone.

Unfortunately, on their return, their car had been hit by another vehicle and extensively damaged.

“Some staff came out of the shop to talk to us and say they saw it all happen and that the man had left all his details, so that took the immediate pressure off.”

Staff at the shop then pulled a picnic table into the shade where Stephen spent the next two hours making phone calls to the Gardaí, insurance companies etc.

“It was 27 degrees and we were gobsmacked, but they were brilliant in there. They brought us out tea and coffee and ice-creams and kept coming out to check on us.”

A woman named Éadaoin McKenna soon arrived at the shop and saw how distressed Liz was before asking if she could help.

“I told her what happened, and she offered to go home to empty out her car and to come back to bring all our gear to the Airbnb.

“So that’s what she did, Spar stored our bike rack inside in a safe place, and we cycled off to our Airbnb in Mount Temple.”

Their Airbnb host Garry Hughes from The Village B&B met the couple once they arrived and immediately made them tea.

“Éadaoin had told him what happened and he settled us in. We went down to the Motte and Bailey restaurant that evening and I dutifully spilled my first glass of wine all over the table, just to add to the day! They replaced it and didn’t charge us for it at all.”

On Saturday, Garry brought Liz and Stephen into town to get a rental car for the weekend, and they then returned to Spar to collect the bike rack.

“They had stored it in their house because they didn’t want anything to happen to it at all, but unfortunately we had no way of storing the bikes on the rental car.

“Between Garry and Stephen they dismantled the bikes Sunday morning because we had decided to return home early. The bikes were put into the car and we came home.”

Despite the ordeal, Liz says that they had a lovely weekend.

“The food was top notch in the Motte & Bailey, and everybody we met couldn’t have been more friendly,” she said. “When we told anybody the story they all really looked after us.”

Liz also says that they are now over the initial shock of the damage to the car.

“Everything is being covered by the man’s insurance, and we’re currently waiting on spare parts to be delivered.

“We’re over the shock of that now, but it’s at the time we were away and the insurance company stopped answering calls at 5pm on Friday.

“We were really depending on the goodness of strangers,” she finishes